Saturday, October 15, 2022
By: Wes Nakama
Not uncommon during Fall evenings in Kalihi, there was the sound of fireworks exploding in the neighborhood twice during Friday night’s O’ahu Interscholastic Association showdown between Farrington and ‘Aiea at Skippa Diaz Stadium.
But the real pyrotechnics were put on within the lines of Kusunoki Field, where ‘Aiea’s offense lit up the scoreboard in the second half for a resounding 31-10 road victory.
Ezekiel Olie completed 26 of 35 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns and Kaimana Lale-Saole added 59 rushing yards on 10 carries to propel Na Ali’i, who improved to 7-2 overall and 5-1 in the OIA’s Division I standings, good for the No. 2 seed in the upcoming league playoffs. The Governors, who led 3-0 early in the game, fell to 5-5 and 3-3 and will be the No. 4 seed.
“Farrington’s a good team, (they’re) physical, high IQ,” said Olie, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound cannon-armed junior. “They were calling out our plays, left and right. But we capitalized, that’s all we did. And we came out with the W.”
Throughout the first half, the game was more of a back-and-forth affair in which both defenses bent but for the most part, did not break.
The Govs took a 3-0 lead with two minutes remaining in the first quarter when Jason Felipe drilled a 35-yard field goal through the mauka uprights, but ‘Aiea tied it at 3-3 on Bryson Boyea Quiton’s equally impressive high-arching field goal from 32 yards out at the 9:25 mark of the second quarter.
Na Ali’i then took a 10-3 lead with 3:12 left before halftime after Olie launched a perfectly placed 41-yard touchdown throw to Jayden Chanel, with Boyea Quiton adding the extra point. Farrington answered when fullback Dayvin Malaetia bulldozed his way to the end zone from 9 yards out and Felipe tacking on the PAT to knot it up at 10-10 heading into the locker rooms.
“(Our) coach was explaining to us that a lot of things we were messing up on were things that we don’t (usually) mess up on, like our passing and our blocking,” Olie said. “We started fixing it into the second half, and I’m pretty proud of the boys.”
‘Aiea did not wait long to strike, with Olie zipping a 29-yard TD pass to Chanel, and Boyea Quiton’s point after making it 17-10 just shy of four minutes into the third quarter. Olie then hit Rico Figueroa on a 3-yard scoring pass to help Na Ali’i take a 24-10 lead with 1:10 remaining in the period.
‘Aiea then added another touchdown two minutes into the fourth quarter when Geronimo Ulgaran — yet another fast receiver with good hands — caught a short pass from Olie and then darted his way through the Governors’ defense for a 20-yard play ending in paydirt. Boyea Quiton’s PAT made it 31-10, and although Farrington advanced to the Na Ali’i 5-yard line on the ensuing series, the Govs could not convert on fourth-and-goal and ‘Aiea subsequently ran out the clock.
“We put ourselves in bad positions and didn’t make plays,” Farrington coach Daniel Sanchez said. “In the first half, we were in the red zone three or four times and didn’t convert. We had two field goals blocked … we gotta do a better job of finishing.”
The Governors suffered another tough break when standout lineman “Poncho” Laloulu injured his knee late in the third quarter on the Olie-to-Figueroa TD pass, and had to be carted off the field. Laloulu, a four-star recruit who is 6 feet 2 and 355 pounds, spent the rest of the game lying on the sideline athletic trainer’s table.
“He said he jumped, and landed awkwardly,” Sanchez said. “Hopefully he just tweaked it, and he will be back.”
Na Ali’i coach Wendell Say said injuries are common and crucial this time of year.
“Farrington played well, and hopefully that injury is not (serious),” Say said. “Injuries are tough right now, and we have them, too. We have two linemen out, who we hope to get back soon.”
Photos by: Grant Shishido
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